Tourism crisis in Puerto Plata; are there solutions?

tinfo

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As any observer knows, the tourism sector is in trouble in the north coast. Saturday March 19th at 3 pm at The Meeting Place in Puerto Plata there is a discussion of what can be done to revive the industry in ways that are sustainable and support the local culture. Leading figures in the industry will share their viewpoints, including the president of the Playa Dorado Hotel Association and owner of Casa Colonial, the executive of the association, proponents of opening the port to cruise ships, as well as residents and visitors from outside the DR. Join in the discussion. Let us know what you think. Maybe collectively we can make a difference. For more info email info@meetingplacepuertoplata.com or check the website Meeting Place Puerto Plata
 
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la_barbie

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considering that the taxes from Canada went up to $388 a person I'm not really surprised... I find a lot more Canadians are going to Cuba now
 

DMV123

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Mar 31, 2010
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But that does not explain the downturn on the north coast completely. That would explain the downturn across the board. BUT the east coast is having a very good year!

Yes taxes are a huge issue but not the only issue. How about the state of the hotels and resorts? How about the gov't investment in promotion? How about the state of our roads? How about the amount of garbage and trash all around?

We need to be competitive in so many ways! Taxes are certainly one way.

The meeting March 19th should be interesting.
 

la_barbie

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May 6, 2004
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Compare the hotels in Bavaro to the ones in Puerto Plata... you really can't... Bavaro hotels are newer, more modern... Puerto Plata is constantly under renovation but the resorts will never compare (my opinion that the hotels look pretty much the same before and after reno)... for example... Paradise in Playa Dorada... for the amount of time it was shut down new railings and flat screens were added to the rooms and not even the whole resort got finished than they ran out of money to build a proper entertainment area (stage) so if it rains you have tourists huddled under the poolside bar or in their rooms... another advantage that Bavaro has are the swim up bars in the pools pretty much all the hotels... puerto plata ? i've seen a couple but of course no one was working them.

I am looking at this at an Architect's point... whoever is in charge of these renovations in Playa Dorada needs a trip to the East... and a lesson in design/renovation... Puerto Plata resorts are older but with some thought they could look a lot better than those in Bavaro.

Would you rather pay for a nice, well kept resort or one that's falling apart/half ass completed for pretty much the same price ???

Not all the tourists are brave enough or interested enough to leave the resort and take the resorts Architecture/look into consideration when chosing a resort... I use to be one of those people years ago !

I would love to have a go at the resorts in Playa Dorada... Paradise first-fix that mess...
 
Jan 17, 2009
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Taxes from the US are not as high as Canada's. However, I've noticed that the airfares to POP are so much higher than they were a couple of years back when oil prices were a lot higher than they are today.

I read somewhere on this forum some time ago that one of the reasons why air fares to POP are higher than other airports in the DR was because the company who has the lease for jet fuel in POP was charging a lot more than other airports. Not sure if this is true or not, but if it were, it would explain the higher fares.

Given the choice of older hotels and higher air fare, OR newer hotels and same or lower air fares, with the type of beaches that tourists who want a Caribbean vacation seem to prefer, I can see why PC gets so much more tourism and Samana's is picking up fast.
 

la_barbie

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wow ... is that the tax on an airline ticket? Why just from Canada?
Yep that's the tax on vacation packages and air only on charter flights...

You can fly with non-charter flight with lower taxes but higher ticket prices so it's not much difference...

I remember when taxes were $160... but now $388... my air only ticket is $199 + $388... way more than the 13% HST... should be illegal... there should be a cap on fuel surcharges.
 

la_barbie

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Given the choice of older hotels and higher air fare, OR newer hotels and same or lower air fares, with the type of beaches that tourists who want a Caribbean vacation seem to prefer, I can see why PC gets so much more tourism and Samana's is picking up fast.
Bingo !!!!!!!!!!
 

greydread

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Jan 3, 2007
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wow ... is that the tax on an airline ticket? Why just from Canada?
If you do a test booking (commercial) you'll find that the taxes and fees (through MIA) to the DR from YUL are around $175. The US component accounts for about $30 of that so really the tax from the DR side is the same as for travellers from the US.
 

cdnresident

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The other reason would also be the residential sector is growing and the hotel sector diminishing bringing in partiel and long term resident instead of travelers. This as two efects: less demands on flights and less demands on services like restaurant and tours, taxi and so on. The condo sector needs to be reorganize to be presented as an option for airlines. With out airline seats you have no posible offers.
 
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Robert

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Punta Cana has had an OK high season to date, nothing spectacular.

Puerto Plata never invested in their product and they have no long term planning.

It's a tour operator driven market and you cannot survive on getting US$17-23 per head per night. Yes, these are the rates tour operators offer. When you have such a low $$$ yield, you cannot afford to invest in your product to increase your yield, the cycle continues.
For the last few years, Puerto Plata has survived off the overspill from Punta Cana/Bavaro.

The country has no long term tourism plan, try and find one.
The sector has no cohesion or strong inter-sector collaboration.
They are not pro-active, they are reactionary, very typical of this and many previous DR Governments.

You want me to keep going?
 

dcblue

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Jul 21, 2008
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Recently, a story on the news was highlighting Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They interviewed a spring breaker who said "we were deciding between the Dominican Republic and here, but the airfare was so much cheaper here, so we decided on New Orleans."

I figure under $400 is about the threshold for airfare for a long weekend. I think a lot of U.S. east coasters would discover and return to the North Coast regularly if the taxes on airfare were lowered. Due to vacation policies, Americans are much more likely to take multiple weekend trips than long vacations and airfare really matters then. The DR government does itself a tremendous disservice in terms of overall potential revenue.
 

cobraboy

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Maybe it's because people don't notice details when things are very familiar, but the area has deteriorated into an ugly pit with dirt, garbage, nasty air (especially in Puerto Plata proper), poorly maintained resorts and hotels, reports of increased crime, etc.

There is a point where only urban renewal will even come close to working. I'm not sure the money is there for that. Certainly resorts, hotels and restaurants aren't putting much cash into their physical facilities. That just ensures a death spiral.

It's not like a spiffy PR/media campaign will work long term. It may attract more feet to the area but unless there is radical physical change from Confresi through Cabarete all that will do is increase consumer resentment for the area being misrepresented. Nobody likes being lied to. The reality better be like the brochure or an even poorer rep will spread.

I'm not so sure there are many viable answers that don't have 8 figures attached..

FTR, we routinely have guests for our tours come in a few days early to hang in Playa Dorada, Sosua or Cabarete and we go pick them up. I'd say 60+% say "what a s#!th0le" about the area. Sad, really. I remember well when it was a spectacular place.
 

cobraboy

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Recently, a story on the news was highlighting Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They interviewed a spring breaker who said "we were deciding between the Dominican Republic and here, but the airfare was so much cheaper here, so we decided on New Orleans."

I figure under $400 is about the threshold for airfare for a long weekend. I think a lot of U.S. east coasters would discover and return to the North Coast regularly if the taxes on airfare were lowered. Due to vacation policies, Americans are much more likely to take multiple weekend trips than long vacations and airfare really matters then. The DR government does itself a tremendous disservice in terms of overall potential revenue.
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more.

What once was a budget paradise is pricing itself out of the market. And with fuel prices going up, I suspect it'll be getting worse. $400 r/t from Miami or NYC seems to be the threshold.
 

Africaida

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Unfortunately, most people that go to Punta Cana or resorts are not interested in Culture. That is why PC fits the bill : nice hotels, nice beach...
 
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Bronxboy

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Unfortunately, most people that go to Punta Cana or resorts are not interested in Culture. That is why PC fits the bill : nice hotels, nice beach...
and R&R......................................;);)
 

SosuaSam

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PC is mainly all inclusive and when you book there your airfare/hotel/transport are all included in the package so that makes life easy.

PP is partly AI but also lots of condo's and so you need to buy airfare separately and book your apartment separately and then everthing else is separate. For the traveller who wants no hassle (which is the majority that I know), go to a new AI in PC and its all taken care of for you.
 

cobraboy

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PC is mainly all inclusive and when you book there your airfare/hotel/transport are all included in the package so that makes life easy.

PP is partly AI but also lots of condo's and so you need to buy airfare separately and book your apartment separately and then everthing else is separate. For the traveller who wants no hassle (which is the majority that I know), go to a new AI in PC and its all taken care of for you.
Sam, many, many rooms at the various "hassle free" AI's on the North Coast go unfilled.

It's much more than that.
 

Beach Pilot

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Tourism on the North Coast

I continue to read about your problems. It seems that everyone that offers a solution is unfamiliar with international marketing. If you want to attract an American, you think like a American. You have to know the current culture and adjust your sites accordingly. The whole coast plays the 'follow the leader rule'.Unfortunately, your approach is all the same.

Do you think that Mexico is a better paradise than here? I live here because this area is paradise. Mexican Resorts are just smart and use people who know marketing. It would be hard for an American to market to a person from the DR.